Many self-acclaimed marketing gurus will give you an approximate frequency regarding how often you should be posting on your social media channels to maintain and grow your online presence. The truth is, what works best will always change due to a multitude of factors, such as social media algorithm shifts, your type of target customer and follower and their own individual lifestyles, your business and vertical, your chosen social media networks, and their individual user habits, social and economic shifts (such as a worldwide pandemic!) and standout events and occasions – such as Christmas, royal weddings or extended bank holidays as examples.
So how can you know when and how often you should post for social media success, if there isn’t a set, definite timetable or social media posting frequency you can rely on? Look at these factors to help you narrow down the optimum days and times for social media posting for your business (because what works for other businesses, won’t work for you!).
Does it really matter what time I post on my social media accounts?
Well, according to research conducted on social media posting times, publishing posts at certain times of the day (and even posting on particular days) can help boost your reach. However, you should keep in mind that these are fairly broad suggestions and not rules for guaranteed success. You should really conduct your own research to work out the optimum times for your business.
How can I work out the best time to post on social media for my business?
As mentioned previously, what works for one business might not work for yours. You’ll need to get stuck in to your own research to identify when your audience are more likely to engage with what you post. Here are our top tips to get you started:
1. Consider your target customers social media habits, lifestyles and behaviours
Consider the everyday life and overall lifestyle of your target customer. Your typical customer will access social media at different times to another business’s typical customer.
When are they likely, and unlikely, to be accessing social media? If you’re targeting young professionals, they’re going to be online during commuting time and over lunch. If you are striving to reach new mums, they’ll be scrolling early in the morning while doing a feed. Perhaps your target consumer is a busy working parent, who will typically catch up on social media after doing the teatime, bath, and bed routine later in the evening. Which days are the likeliest to be using social media? Whilst some millennials will be in bed late morning having a scroll, others will be embracing the day and will be offline, so consider your target customer’s interests and behaviours in detail.
To illustrate and define your target customer, have a look at our guide to creating your audience personas. It’ll help you to understand who you are marketing to, thus improving your content strategy.
2. Consult the social media channel you’re posting on
Users of different social media networks access each network at different times. For example, many professionals will hammer LinkedIn during the week, and avoid it like a bad smell on a weekend. Fans of TikTok may choose to upload and enjoy videos on an evening when they’re less rushed. A golden time for Instagram could be early mornings during weekdays, as users have a scroll over breakfast instead of reading a morning newspaper.
So, it’s not just the habits and lifestyles of your target audience that you need to think about, it’s also the social media channel, because they’re each used for different purposes, so slot into online user’s lives variably.
Find out more about which social media channels are right for your business.
3. Analyse the times your competitors are posting
Record the timestamps of the content posted by your competitors who tend to generate high engagement on social media. If your target audiences are very similar, then it’s likely that the timeframes they use to post on social media will be good for you too.
4. Avoid key times, events and occasions
Consider the cultural, natural, and sociological events that are happening at the time of posting on social media. Perhaps you always experience high engagement and social media success when you post on a Sunday night – but this is going to be unlikely on a Bank Holiday weekend during a heatwave when no one will be sat inside on their phones!
There are certain events, times, and occasions that remove and distract people from their phones, such as Christmas, national key sports events such as Wimbledon or The World Cup, popular TV show finals, heatwaves and sunny days, the school Summer holidays, late at night and overnight, or Monday mornings when people are back at work swallowed up in their emails and overdue tasks.
Keep track in advance of the events, times and occasions which may pull your target audience away from your phone so you can avoid posting at these key times and then ultimately questioning why your content flopped.
5. Utilise your social media live features, without using them
You can use social media networks to determine how many of your existing followers are online at any given time. Simply use your live feature (without starting it, just open it up) on your chosen network, and it will tell you how many of your followers are online.
Do this for a week, as often as you can, and record a typical pattern. Then you will be able to determine what figure you should consider a high volume of followers being online by looking at your fluctuating numbers. You may think that having 10% of your followers online at one time is too low, but when you look at the figures over time, you could realise that 10% is actually a high volume of your audience to be online at a given time.
6. Leverage social insights and tools
Each social network offers businesses the ability to assess their most popular days and times for their audience to be online. This may fluctuate and shift, so check it regularly. You can utilise these insights to inform your content posting schedule, rather than just posting at any ad hoc time.
7. Carry out trial and error testing
Another strategy that may sound blaze is to perform experimentation. If you don’t experiment by posting at different times and days, how will you know what is most successful?
If this sounds too risky, and you haven’t been using these strategies for posting on social media so far, have a look at all your posts to date – which ones perform best, and what times were they posted?
If you’re going to do it this way though, make sure you consider the content type you used as well, as your content is what influences your social media engagement mostly.
8. Establish how to maintain a presence
If it’s more important to you that you maintain an ongoing presence and don’t disappear, rather than strategically posting at chosen times to catch the largest volume of followers, think about the typical lifetime of social media content.
Instagram stories, for example, last 24 hours, so if you want a constant top-of-page presence, you should update your Instagram story every day, ensuring the activity ring around your profile image doesn’t vanish.
In-feed posts on social media last anywhere between a few hours to a few days, and this duration is individual to every user. This depends on a few factors, such as:
- The amount of engagement a particular post has received – if it has performed better than usual it will be served on the platform for longer. Find out more about why social media engagement is so important.
- How often an individual social media user uses the social network in question – those that use the app less will see content chronologically or content from a few days ago, whereas users who use a network heavily will be shown content that is related to what they usually engage with, and the lifetime of it will be shorter.
- How well your previous content has performed.
- How often the user engages with your content – social networks will work to serve your posts to users who regularly interact with your social content.
9. Analyse your customers posting habits!
Performing social listening is integral to knowing about your target audience and customer’s social media habits.
So, to conclude, read this and read it again: there is no set social media posting frequency that is the key to unlocking social media success! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. With strategy, knowledge, time, experience, and expertise, you will learn how and when is best to post for you and your business.